Lunenburg’s Historic Houses

5 05 2010

Lunenburg was the first British colonial settlement in Nova Scotia outside of Halifax and was a deliberate attempt at civilian colonization of what, until that time, had been a native and subsequently Acadian territory.

Settlers were lured from Germany, Switzerland and the Montbeliard region of France,  by the promise of free land in the New World, and shortly after their arrival, were allocated Town lots, garden lots just east of the Town, 30 acre and 300 acre farm lots in the hinterlands.

The Town itself was sited on a neck of land between the front and back harbours and was laid out in a rectangular grid pattern on the steep hillsides, facing south.

The area within this planned grid came to be known as the “Old Town” and its unique flavour and architectural character is still derived strongly from the narrow streets and compact lots of the original plan.

Here I would like to give you a sample of the very varied architecture of Lunenburg.

This house was build around 1880, with its mansard roof, round headed windows and pedimented dormer.

Many houses have these decorative trims at the eaves or windows.

The Koch-Solomon house  was built  around 1780 for the merchant, and sawmill owner Henry Koch.

Built on a massive stone foundation, the post and beam plank wall structure is designed in the  style of the late Georgian period.  The central doorway has ornamented side and transom windows.

This house was probably built about 1840.

The large 5 sided dormer projects over the doorway and decorative brackets link it with the door trim.

This house was the home of the first Mayor of Lunenburg, Augustus Wolff. It has a centrally projecting dormer flanked by 2 smaller dormers. The dormers all have 2-tiered roofs and round headed windows. The central dormer has fret work on its lower edge over the main door.

The  John Heckman house was probably built about 1800. The dormer window was probably added at a later date.

The Kaulbach house has a mansard roof with small second storey, peaked, dormer windows.  An extended dormer, with a bell cast tower roof and attic dormers, projects over the lower porch. Cornices at the doors and windows are all accented by dark paint. ‘Kaulbach’ is inscribed in the steps that lead to the front door.

This house is probably the oldest in the town, dating possibly 1761. The small dormers that once flanked the main one have been removed. Original windows have been replaced by a large double leafed door and multipaned window,  probably when the house was used as the town’s Customs Office.

This building  is now home to the Lunenburg Art Gallery. It was built around 1800. The original 5 bay windows are still intact in the 2nd storey, and the main doorway has a classical trim.

I’ll add some more photos in another Blog, but as you can see, a walk around Lunenburg is a very interesting experience.

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7 responses

10 05 2010
sartenada

What a wonderful place to stroll around and to “sniff” the hum of leaves of history. Photo number seven is awesome, also number five. Those houses are painted with color which is not general in my country. It is calming the mind. Color of third photo is typical here, I mean the blue color.

What I wonder is if there were not fires, because so many historic houses are still left there. In my country fires were “scourges”. Many old historic areas with wooden houses have vanished in fires.

I liked Your post very much and enjoyed Your photos which I watched many times admiring them.

10 05 2010
jackiequeen

Thank you for your comments. Lunenburg has such a ‘variety’ of architecture that makes it a very interesting place to stay. Since reading about the builders and owners of these first houses, I am looking at the town in a very different way. It will take me some time to get to know all of the houses. Yes, fire is a very big hazard in old towns of wooden houses. You read my Blog about the fire destroying St John’s Anglican Church in 2001.The first Lunenburg academy was built in 1865 and it was destroyed by fire in 1893. A new academy was built on a much larger site in 1895 and this building is still in use.

3 08 2010
Glen Thielmann

great photos! your site helped answer some questions, too. I was just doing some genealogy work and realized that my wife’s Great(x5) grandfather was one of Lunenburg’s original settlers, a Jacques Boutilier — he had a lot at York & Prince but the house would be long gone. Last time I was there I was 11 (30 years ago)… I’ll have more to look at next time!!!

3 08 2010
jackiequeen

Thank you for commenting on this post. That’s really interesting about the name Jacques Boutilier, I too will have a look around for for any information. I found this site http://www.archive.org/stream/historycountylu00desbgoog/historycountylu00desbgoog_djvu.txt which I think makes interesting reading. Where do you live now – America or Europe? I saw a book in our library that listed all of the houses in Lunenburg. I will look and see what was on York/Prince.

1 10 2010
Glen Thielmann

We live in British Columbia. The Boutiliers in question moved to Coxheath and other sites in Cape Breton, marrying into Lewis and Andrews families, among others, who were my wife’s forebears. I liked the story of the Lunenburg “fathers” who gathered at a church in Halifax to receive their lot assignments in the new town. The properties were written on the backs of playing cards, some of which survived long enough to be photographed and I’m sure tucked in boxes up in attics here and there.

3 11 2013
Angela

I discovered and fell in love with Lunenburg while watching Haven, the FX series. I can’t wait until I can plan a visit to see the beauty in person! Do you know any of the official exterior paint colors used on any of these homes or where I may be able to find this information? Thanks for your sharing the beauty of these homes here and for your time.

13 11 2013
jackiequeen

Seemingly, in the past, the houses were painted the same colours as the owners boats. Don’t know if that was true. Now I think anything goes, by some of the newly painted buildings in town.

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